Is your wallet hurting your health?

slim bellroy

 “The best way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket”

–  Will Rogers

This is excellent advice. However, my wallet is sitting out in front of me on my desk because my chiropractor told me it’s throwing my back out.  Here’s what’s happening: Sitting on my not-so thick wallet is not only twisting my spine but it’s also compressing a large nerve that extends through the buttock and down my left leg.  Ouch!

You see, my not-so thick wallet has gotten too thick with membership cards, business cards, healthcare cards, credit cards, debit cards, access cards, and even some cash once a while.  I clean it out every week but it’s still too thick.

At the chiropractor, I open my wallet looking for my healthcare membership card and my HSA (Health savings account) debit card to pay my chiropractor to solve the problem. They also need to make a photocopy of each of said cards and my driver’s license – for the third time.

There are quite a few problems with men’s and women’s wallets.

  • The wallets are designed to hold a lot of stuff, inefficiently, making them thick and bulky. (see some new options below)
  • For men, we spend too much time sitting on them throwing out our backs and  compressing large nerves.
  • For women, (based on a lifetime of observation in retail checkout lines lines and also being married)  Women spend too much time rooting for their wallet through large purses with entirely too much stuff in them. Once the wallets are found in the large purse, the rooting begins again in the large wallet.
  • This problem increases for both sexes with age. Most young guys and gals tend to travel lighter. Mature adults and professionals of some sort seem to accumulate all kinds of crap in their wallets.
  • Old men and old ladies are off the charts keeping entire decades of information in their wallets. For a while, my mom had my birth certificate in her wallet, 20 years after I was living on my own.
  • If you lose said monster wallet, your whole month is pretty much messed up. Credit could be damaged, shit goes wrong.  Yep, you forgot about that folded up check you had in there.
  • Speaking of losing wallets, if you travel frequently you will eventually be pickpocketed if you keep your wallet in your back pocket or in a purse. Best to carry something in your front pocket. In parts of Europe and South America pickpocketing has been elevated to an art.

Now that I’m thinking about it, wallets really are a pain in the ass

“Someday I’d like to walk into a store with no money, no credit cards, no shoes in a soaking wet bathing suit and wave my waterproof iPhone at a credit card POS machine and pay for a cold drink. The details of the transaction, including the (actual name) of the store the date time cost and product name, would appear instantly on my screen as a receipt that I could save or delete. At the end of the month, I would know exactly how much I spent in convenience stores without having to download or look up anything. “

This was a quote from a blog post I wrote in June, calling out Apple, Google, Visa, AMEX to work together to solve this problem instead of creating solutions that don’t work with each other.

In the meantime, while we are waiting for the technology, here are a few ways to minimize your wallet and simplify your life.

  1. Get rid of all those club cards.  Most supermarket, retail clubs use a phone number to sign you up and in you can usually punch these in on a keypad when going through check out. Don’t use the keychain ones, that just moves the problem to a different pocket.
  2. Use the same number for all of your memberships. If you’re not comfortable giving out your mobile number, get a free Google voice number.
  3. If you have a smartphone, use the app Evernote to store an image of your healthcare,  auto insurance. and other important cards with membership numbers.  Once the cards in Evernote, if someone needs a copy, you can just email it to them.
  4. Try out apps like Apple Passport, Google Wallet, Jot from Chase that help you manage payments and receipts from your smartphone. They are not completely there yet, but they can reduce the bulk in your wallet until better solutions come along.
  5. Create a habit of cleaning out receipts and other items in your wallet every Friday or Saturday morning to get a fresh start on the weekend. I stuff any receipts I do have in an envelope labeled with the month for business expenses or returns.

Try out one of the new minimalist wallets. Both of these companies have options for men and women. I’ll will be trying out the Bellroy Note pictured below to save some money on future chiropractic adjustments.




TGT Wallets 

This may just be from personal experience but the less you carry around in your wallet the better you feel and the less you spend. Less = More.

The Frug

Live LeanWork LeanTravel Lean.

Twitter @the_frug

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